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  • I have three meals a day.
  • I have a meal three times a day.
  • I have meals three times a day.

I wonder if they all can convey the same meaning. The first one seems to be the most common of the three, but do the other two sound weird?

I also wonders which one of the three below is better.

  • Japan has participated in seven World Cups.
  • Japan has participated in the World Cup seven times.
  • Japan has participated in the World Cups seven times.

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I have three meals a day is indeed the usual expression. We give our meals different names according to the time of day (apart from breakfast, the names vary according to culture, but that's another story), so they are three different meals. It would be unusual to say I have a meal three times a day, but it would mean the same. I have meals three times a day could imply that you eat more than one meal at a time!

The World Cup, of course, can mean either the trophy being competed for, the competition as a whole, or a single year's event. Either the first or second sentence can be used, but the third sounds odd.

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